Happy Birthday, Dear Church – Pentecost

Aim:

To explain about the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ present to those who follow him.

Bible base:

Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-14. The coming of the Holy Spirit.

You will need:

  • A cake with birthday candles on it
  • Signs saying ‘Holy Spirit’ and ‘Power’

Preparation

Wrap the signs in gift wrap, preferably some that is clearly marked ‘birthday’.

Presentation

Introduction

1. Enquire if it is anyone’s birthday today…or this week.

2. Talk about birthdays and what we receive ie cards, presents, cake etc.

3. Show the birthday cake and light the candles. Begin to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ but stop as you begin the line ‘Happy Birthday dear…’

(Sing it through first for any who have had a birthday that week, and then ask the children to sing it once again, stopping as above.)

4. Christians call the special time of year known as ‘Pentecost’ the birthday of the church. Explain how ‘the church’ is not just the building where people meet on a Sunday (mention a local church by name) but is a name given to everyone in the world who follows Jesus.

Story

Tell the story from Acts 1 and 2, in particular how:

1. Jesus was leaving his special friends and going back to be with God.

2. He promised to send the Holy Spirit, his helper, to be with them.

3. All of Jesus’ followers were in a room together in Jerusalem. There was a sound like a strong wind blowing, that seemed to fill the house, and they saw what looked like little flames dancing around on each person.

4. The Holy Spirit had come, just as Jesus promised. Unwrap the ‘Holy Spirit’ sign. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit came, he would give them a special present. Unwrap the ‘Power’ sign and go on to tell what happened next.

5. Jesus’ friends began to talk in foreign languages, even though they had never learned to speak them. (You may want to say a few suitable phrases in some foreign languages eg ‘Lobe den Herrn’ – ‘Praise to the Lord’ in German or ‘Clod i Dduw’ – Welsh for ‘Praise to God’ – pronounced ‘clowd’, to rhyme with ‘crow’, ‘ee’, ‘thew’, to rhyme with ‘dew’, with a hard ‘th’ as in ‘the’.)

6. People from lots of foreign countries, who were in Jerusalem and were outside the house, could hear them talking, and understood them!

7. Peter was very brave and bold: he stood up in front of thousands of people and told them all about Jesus.

Application

1. Jesus had already told his disciples about the Holy Spirit, how he was like the wind – you can’t see it, but you can see what it does. Ask the children if they can see your breath as you blow into the air. They can’t. Ask them to watch what happens as you blow on the candles.

2. We can’t see the Holy Spirit, but he is Jesus’ special present to those who follow him, to be with them and to make them brave to do what is right, just as he made Peter brave.

3. Re-light the candles and sing ‘Happy Birthday, dear Church’.

Prayer

Ask the children to join in with the words ‘Thank you, God’ at the end of each line.

For birthdays and parties Thank you, God.

For fun and enjoyment Thank you, God.

For presents and happiness Thank you, God.

For your Holy Spirit Thank you, God.

Song suggestion

Jesus, send me the Helper, 409, Junior Praise

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